Adam Dunn‘s 2011 season will forever be ingrained in the minds of White Sox fans. We all felt like that scene in Major League 2 when Randy Quaid runs up to his friends and says “We signed Jack Parkman! You can add forty-two homers to our lineup.” Except in the movie Parkman did perform and the team played well. Other than that I think the analogy holds.
If people cared about what I had to say I would give Adam Dunn my vote for Most Valuable Player. Not in the traditional sense that he carried the White Sox, was a team leader, and was just overall valuable to the South Side. No – Adam Dunn was the Most Valuable Player to every team the White Sox played against in 2011. Just think, if Dunn had clubbed forty-plus home runs and driven in somewhere in the area of one-hundred twenty the standings of the AL Central division would look a lot different.
Numerous times through the year Dunn was up to bat in a clutch situation and failed to deliver. Early in the season our excuse was that he was adjusting, towards the middle of the year we said he was slumping, into August we hoped that he would bust out and keep us in the race, then finally in September we admitted he sucked. But he was the one guy the other teams could count on to not do anything. That’s why he was the most valuable player.
From 2004 to 2010 he was one of the biggest threats in baseball. Even last year you knew that no matter how bad he looked he was still Adam Dunn and maybe – just maybe – he’d remind everyone of that. And occasionally, about twice a month, he would. But that isn’t frequent enough to get into the head of Bruce Chen much less Justin Verlander. (Congratulations to Verlander, by the way, for unanimously winning the 2011 AL Cy Young award. He definitely deserved it. Now maybe he’ll walk away with MVP as well? If Dunn doesn’t win, that is.)
Adam Dunn’s past offseason ritual has been to do nothing. He wouldn’t pick up a bat between the end of the season and Spring Training. It used to be that Mark Buehrle wouldn’t pitch in the offseason but the left-hander said it got to the point where he realized “Hey, I’m not as young as I used to be, I need to stay in shape.” If Dunn learned anything from his first year on the Sox it should be that maybe he needs to stop doing that. Ideally he’s somewhere in Texas or Chicago or Adam Dunn Land preparing for the 2012 season because we sure could use the guy we thought we were signing.
In all seriousness Dunn is probably a great guy. He knew that he was struggling, that he wasn’t living up to his contract, that he was letting his team down, that he was the bane of thousands of fantasy baseball players, that his mother turned off the games when she saw him in the on-deck circle, that he would be the punchline of White Sox jokes for years to come, and he knew that he would have to change. Will we get thirty home runs in 2012? Maybe. Forty? Who knows. Ten? We hope.
turn the pages of the 2011 season and gaze longingly towards 2012, I’m anxious to see what next year will bring for Adam “The Mystery” Dunn.
One thing is for sure – his Strat-O-Matic card will be a thing of beauty.